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Craig Changfoot, manager of maintenance and operations for Simon Fraser University's downtown campus in Vancouver, remembers the time he didn't take a notebook to a meeting and was scolded by a boss who told him that taking notes showed the attendees that you had a genuine interest in the meeting.

On his OrganizedActions , he shares his techniques for capturing what's important in meetings:

– He titles the meeting, date, and the topic.

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– He makes notes on all key points related to what the meeting is about. Each main point is denoted with an arrow on the left-hand side. Secondary points get a plus sign.

– If he has to act on something, he denotes that category with a square box, again on the left. When he completes the task, he comes back and ticks it off with a check mark.

– If a point is important to remember, he signals that with a triangle on the left.

– He puts the date on handouts and leaves them between the pages of the meeting notes for reference.

Mr. Changfoot stresses that it is important to write legibly. He urges you to take any actions within 24 hours of the meeting. At the end of the work week, scan your notes to make sure you haven't missed anything important.

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About the Author
Management columnist

Harvey Schachter is a Kingston, Ont.-based writer specializing in management issues. He writes Monday Morning Manager and management book reviews for the print edition of Report on Business and an online column, Power Points. More

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